Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Leah and Mabel talk a bit more before Mabel takes her leave. Leah then decides to get dressed and make an announcement on social media that she has a major announcement incoming within the next day or so, and her followers should stay tuned.
Meanwhile, Jones is getting ready to hit the bars and see if he can hook up for the evening. While doing so, he receives a phone call from an unknown number. He answers it and finds that it is Hal, Jimmy’s friend. Clark called Jones on Saturday asking if he could pass his number along, and Hal evidently finally used it. He wants to talk about Jimmy, and Jones agrees to meet him at a nearby Denny’s.
They talk over coffee. Hal asks if there is anything specific Jones can recall about Jimmy’s final moments; nothing comes to mind, other than he was clearly out of it and clearly had a focused purpose, although Jones is careful not to mention anything he did not personally witness. Hal further notes that he heard Jones used to be in the Air Force. Given that, how does he deal with trauma, with losing people? Jones recommends finding a support group, especially since they tend to thrive on anonymity, so Hal doesn’t have to reveal anything about himself or the occult underground he’s not comfortable revealing. Just go and share. And if Hal ever finds himself awake at night, he can always call Jones.
The only new thing about Jimmy that Hal mentions is that he was trying to deal with The Dealer, because he needed money — something about getting plastic surgery to look like James Dean. Jones notes that it sounds like anyone who deals with The Dealer gets a bad deal, so why does anyone do it? Hal can’t say, but Jones suspects desperation plays a key factor.
They chat further, and Jones asks about how Hal got into the occult underground. He’s apparently bent for clothing and the symbolism of clothing, a passion he found at an early age. He finds it gives him power, although he’s in it more for the fulfillment of a perfectly-coordinated outfit. Eventually, Hal thanks Jones for his help and takes his leave. He likewise tells Jones that if he has any trouble adjusting to the occult underground, he can call Hal, too. Hal pays for them both and leaves.
With that errand complete, Jones leaves Denny’s to hit the bars. He first chats with a woman by the name of Leticia Chambers, but doesn’t get too far into his spiel about Tuesdays before realizing they’re not really hitting it off and quietly taking his leave. He doesn’t even get the name of his second attempt, as she clearly isn’t interested. He decides to try another bar, and this time meets Tanika Butler as she’s getting drinks for her friends. Again, his routine about Tuesdays doesn’t really seem to interest her, and as she takes her leave he finishes his drink. He’s about to leave when he runs into Jane outside. She is surprised to see him, but quickly reacts by suppressing whatever ability makes her seem somehow idealized. They chat for a moment — he remarks on the fact that they seem to keep running into each other, and she notes that she’s given herself over to serendipity, so odd coincidences happen to her a lot. She doesn’t necessarily know why they keep running into each other, but they’ll probably figure it out before too long. He invites her back inside for a drink, and she agrees. She says she’ll have what he recommends, so at his behest, she tries scotch. Although it’s obviously a bit outside her normal purview, she tries scotch and doesn’t hate it. She begins projecting herself as an idealized woman again after a few minutes, and when Jones points it out to her, she says she can only suppress it for a few minutes at a time. They talk for a while, sipping scotch, before Jane takes her leave. Being notably more inebriated than before, Jones offers to see her home, but she says she’ll be fine and takes a cab.
Jones makes his way home, more frustrated than when the evening began.
The next morning, January 19, Kevin takes Otis and Felicia out to his parents’ commune. The regulars know Otis, but Kevin introduces Felicia to everyone, including his parents. They’re glad to see him, as it’s been a while, and people hang out and chat over tea. Kevin also recommends that Felicia partake of the weed here, as it’s very good; better than whatever Carmel Drool is selling, anyway.
Eventually, Kevin asks his parents where he can find Chief Bug, as he wants to enter the sweat lodge. They say he’s around, probably out back, so Kevin goes to find him. Bug prepares the sweat lodge, and Kevin lets the people know it will soon be in operation. Several, including Felicia and Otis, undress and come to participate.
Inside, Kevin has a vision.
The holes he seeks are part of a mystical grid leading to an Otherspace, as he knows. Every Otherspace has a special ritual that unlocks it, somehow determined by the creator — although they may arise randomly from the universe, it is possible for people to create their own Otherspaces, although the effects can be somewhat unpredictable.
Kevin staggers out of the sweat lodge with this insight, and a good feeling about whatever he decides to do next. He notes that Felicia seems similarly self-assured when she exits the sweat lodge. They spend the rest of the day hanging out, and eventually spend the night.
Leah makes a second announcement on social media during the day, indicating that tomorrow night, she’s leading a ritual to help find her dad. She wants her followers to come and participate, putting their energy out into the cosmos in the hope of finding him. She then calls Melker, and talks over plans regarding the upcoming charity auction, the meeting on Friday, and her new plan for her communion ritual on Thursday night.
Jones works out and gets ready for work in the evening. Everyone is glad to see him returned, although everybody seems a little stiff around him; he relieves the tension by gathering everyone in a quiet moment and saying that while he experienced a traumatic event last week, he’s willing to talk about it if anyone has any questions. Right now, though, he needs everyone on his team to be focused on the planes in the sky like they normally are. Everybody seems a little easier after that.
When Jones gets off work and returns to his house, he finds someone waiting outside. A young Caucasian male, the man introduces himself as Eli, and seems very excited at the prospect that Jones took out some bad guy with a gun at the American Café, something that “crypto Muslim in the White House” wants to abolish. Jones takes a rather immediate dislike to the man, feeling that he’s some manner of gun fetishist with a lack of understanding about the gravity of a weapon. Eli thinks Jones has him all wrong; he totally understands the purpose of a gun, as a tool to protect people. Killing is just incidental as a tool of civilization. Jones goes back-and-forth with Eli for a few minutes before finally deciding he’s had enough of some gun nut waiting for him to come home, so he threateningly suggests Eli ought to go on his way, and maybe have this conversation during the daytime not outside his house. Eli seems completely oblivious as to what he’s done to make Jones so hostile, but he leaves.
The next day, Felicia, Kevin, and Otis return from the commune. When he has a moment alone, Kevin tells Felicia that he’s glad she had a good time, and if she ever needs to get away from everything, she can always go to the commune. She starts crying, thanking Kevin for being so accepting of her. She alludes to the fact that things got a little crazy back east before she made her way here, and she seems genuinely grateful that Kevin and Otis have accepted her without question. Kevin’s just glad she seems to make Otis happy.
Leah spends her day preparing for her ritual that evening. Eventually, Kevin starts the text chain, and Kevin and Jones agree to meet at Leah’s house.
Once the group convenes, they share their experiences over the past couple of days. Jones talks about his meeting with Hal, and more disturbingly, his meeting with Eli. Leah reveals her plans to perform a large-scale gutter magick ritual tonight in an attempt to find out what happened to her father. Kevin talks about his vision at the sweat lodge, and his concern that using too much magick might spontaneously create an Otherspace and possibly draw the attention of the House of Renunciation. As such, he’s not totally happy with Leah’s plan, but she says she’s going ahead with it anyway. Kevin and Jones both agree to be in the area — although Jones, at least, will probably stake out the ritual site from a distance — in case something goes wrong.